I felt cute and enjoyed dressing up for work. My boss always dressed nicely and looked very cute too, but it wasn't too long before I noticed the overall more casual attire of most people in the company. They practiced "Casual Friday," but it wasn't all that uncommon to see jeans on other days of the week too, especially on the men, for whom ties were really only worn at board meeting time.
Me, I could barely force myself to wear khakis on Fridays. I wore skirts and dresses and 3.5-inch heels all the way through my pregnancy with Kate. After becoming a mom, I couldn't handle the heels quite as well and started heading toward the more casual end of "business casual." (I was having deja vu here, and found a Working Mom Wednesday post from that stage of my work-wardrobe-timeline, titled, fittingly, "Business Casual.") But still more committed to polish than comfort.
It was right around that time that I moved into my Ministry Matters role, and I felt a little overdressed for a "web" person. People who run websites are supposed to be all hipster-like, right? Pearls seemed somewhat out of place in the digital suite, and before I knew it, I was wearing jeans on Thursdays. (gasp!)
There are two "Work Wardrobe Rules" I've tried to keep in mind over the years, both of which I probably learned from my dad, who has traditionally been my go-to person for professional advice.
|From Ann Taylor|
This makes sense, as it puts a person in the right mindset for the career path she is pursuing, and sends a message to others that she is serious about her work. There are times when this doesn't make sense, though. Like when I worked in a day care one summer in college and never once wore jeans, shorts, or sneakers. What was I thinking?
This rule actually provided some guidance in my "year of discernment" these past twelve months. I used to want the metaphorical "corner office." I wanted to rise up the ranks and be the "power chick" Matt jokes that I am. But as my vision shifted closer to home, my attire did as well. When I started wanting to wear jeans on a Monday, I knew something had changed in me and I joked "if you're supposed to dress for the job you want, apparently I want to be at home on my sofa!"
Fortunately, with our office being so casual anyway, this wasn't a problem. Apparently everyone wanted to be hanging out on my sofa! And this brings me to the next rule:
Rule #2: Never dress nicer than your boss.
It was actually easier to follow this rule once I relaxed my "never dress down!" standards, and I actually love the way my boss dresses. I love cardigans, and the flowier and cozier, the better.
This is my favorite piece of clothing right now. (I actually have it in green, but didn't like the shirt they paired it with in that pic.) I'm wearing it right now, actually, with jeans. But I'm not sitting on my sofa. I'm at my desk, in a work-oriented environment. Which brings me to newly-discovered Rule #3.
Rule #3: When you work at home, you still get dressed.
I've heard a lot of jokes about working in my pajamas since I shifted to working from home, but that is really, truly unadvisable (and not just because a deliveryperson might come to the door!) It's about getting into a "work" frame of mind, being productive and focused. It's a signal to your brain that it's time to be "on."
Admittedly, I dress more casually than I would if I were going to the office. Leggings or jeans every day and certainly no panty hose! But I do get dressed before sitting down to work. I even put on makeup and jewelry most days, even if I know I'm not leaving the house.
What's your typical work attire? How do you feel about it?